I had inquired with a friend about a new watershed I had been planning on exploring. As I was about to head south on the interstate, I had a quick change of plans and instead pointed the vehicle east. I could explore anytime but today I wanted the boy to just catch fish....so it was off to familiar waters. I had briefly fished this stream last August when I was teaching a friend to fly fish.
A short hike put us on very nice water. The fishing started out slow but we picked up a nice brookie in one of the pools below a man-made structure. Ross was happy to see the first brookie of the day.Once we had that first fish under the belt, I started explaining the water and where the fish like to hide. I explained that with the low water temperatures the brookies were holding in the dead water just off the main current.
Things were off to a good start, so I put the rod in his hands hoping he could hook into his own brookie. Without much practice on the fly rod, I put him fishing a small olive woolybugger downstream.
We drove downstream then up and over the eastern divide to another stream I know that produces nice brookies. The first section I planned to fish was already taken, so we drove to the bottom end of the stream. We went up a smaller feeder stream but had no luck - only one miss and a lot of scrambling.
I had another stream in mind that produced well a couple of weeks ago. As I was changing out my setup, from the olive woolybugger to the dry/dropper rig that produced a couple of weeks prior. While I was rigging up he went to the bridge to check out the water. I had told him on the other streams that just because we could not see the fish, didn't mean they weren't there and that they hid very well.
While standing on the bridge with him, he looked at the water and asked what would happen if everyone caught all of fish out of the water. I told him that's why I turn everything back, so that someone else can catch the fish too. He said "everyone should turn all the fish back". I like how this kid thinks!
We hit the water and picked up another fish shortly thereafter. Now Ross was ready to give it a try again. He thought he had the casting down and then I explained at the same time you have to watch your fly and tend your line. It didn't sound that easy now but he was willing to give it a try.The fishing was great, the catching not so good. We fished hard and could not pick up another brookie and Ross was getting hungry AGAIN. This section of stream was in a deep canyon, and nearly straight up to the stream. I gave him the option of following the stream back to the car or climbing the steep hillside to the road...he chose the road. We scrambled up the hill and through the loose scree just below the road. All I could think as I looked back was: there's a junior mountain goat in the family.
Before we went back to the stream, we stopped back at the general store so we could put a couple of quarters in the spotting scope and get a better look at those "crazy people" climbing the Rocks. We could count over twenty people either on top or on their way up. He told me one more time that he was going to climb Seneca Rocks and I told him again that it would be without me and that I would be more than happy to meet him at the top (I would hike to the top).
We had time for one more stop, so we went back to the stream just on the east side of the divide. We fished downstream with woolybuggers again but only moved one brookie. When we got to this point, I put the rod in his hands while I took a few photos.
When I had finished snapping off a couple of shots, he was standing on the bank with rod in hand but no bugger. He said the fly "must have come off", afraid to tell me he had probably snagged it in a tree and broke it off. I told him that was OK, I had plenty more.
We walked up another little feeder, just to check it out for future reference. He said this was the most beautiful place he had ever seen.To get back to the car we had to scramble up another high, steep bank to the road. Again, I thought this kid has a lot of mountain goat in him!
Before we crossed the divide, we stopped so I could show him where the stream comes right out of the ground. The picture is not the greatest, it's quite a distance across the field and even with a telephoto lens it is a difficult shot without a tripod.
We brought the camping gear but with a forecast of temperatures in the low 30's, we opted for a hotel room with a pool and hot tub. What a way to finish the perfect father/son day than with a dip in a pool and a nice long soak in the hot tub.
It was a great day!
Not fishing related, but another moment when I was so proud of my 3rd grader. My wife sent us a text message on the way home that said "good morning boys". I saw the text my son responded with, it said "you too" - with two "o's". I know quite a few adults that don't know the to/too grammar rules, but my 3rd grader does. I think I was more proud of this than I was of the way he performed on the water.
That's my boy!